Thursday, January 19, 2012

French Girl Problems. Chapter 1: Visa

Well, I don't know if I ever blogged about our Visa-gone-wrong trip to Houston in June but it was a nightmare. Sneaking around, trying to take off work without people finding out why we had to go to Houston so urgently only to be turned away at the Visa office because our marriage license was in English and not in French. (The website said Either/ Or) 

Seeing as we had little time in July amidst goodbyes, weddings, vacations, and packing... we were not able to make it back down to the consulate so we took our chances at getting things sorted out over here in France.  This morning we FINALLY had our interview with the customs representative. I was under the impression that our formal letter to come meet with them was to finalize my extended stay Visa and to interview me to determine my level of French so she could place me in an appropriate class level. I had butterflies all the way to Tulle and brought my French curriculum Kristin is teaching me and studied up with Logan on our way there. 

As our appointment began, I could tell something was not right. Basically, they called us in to tell us in person that our paper work is not sufficient and I am currently here in France illegally. Well- HAPPY THURSDAY right? They also wanted a first hand account as to what happened in Houston and what day I arrived in France. I thought about lying so they wouldn't kick me out, but my conscience had the best of me. 

The problem: We had our marriage certificate translated once we got here but NOT TRANSCRIBED. What is the difference? I am not sure. Something about a legal document?

What does this mean? If we cannot get our marriage license transcribed quickly OR get the "Prefect" (sort of like the District Governor) to approve my application knowing the background of my case, it looks like I will have to fly to Houston to sort this out. Talk about jumping through HOOPS! 

Until then... it is in MY best interest to flee the country... so folks, it looks like we are headed to Spain for the weekend! That way when I return, I can stay for 90 days without a Visa.  

The positive in this is obvious: We HAVE to go to SPAIN. Now my French/English/Spanish is REALLY going to get jumbled up!

Source: via Bianca on Pinterest

Source: via Lissa on Pinterest


  1. holy craziness!!! viva la espana!!!! fingers crossed everything works out :)

  2. wow, what a mess. enjoy the weekend getaway!

  3. Actually wait! Going to Spain does not restart your 90 days - you actually need to leave the Schengen zone (ie most of Europe) for 90 days before you are allowed to come back again for another 90. It is actually just an old wives tale that you can just hop over to England or Spain for a few days and it restarts:

    "The Schengen (tourist) visa is good for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. This means that if you enter and exit the Schengen area with a Schengen visa, the time you spend outside the Schengen area is not counted toward your maximum of 90 days only as long as you do not exceed the maximum of 90 days in ANY 180-day period.

    To further clarify in the case of those exempt from needing to apply for the Schengen (tourist) visa, exiting the Schengen area does not “restart” or “renew” the Schengen visa or the 90-day maximum stay limit. This is only the case if you have been outside of the Schengen area for a minimum of 90 days (e.g., three months in and three months out). "

  4. Sounds like a fabulous excuse to take a vacation!!! I love this story-minus the extreme stress of it all...xoxo

  5. OMG! Well, it's not ideal, but if you have to come to Houston you know you have a free place to stay in Houston as long as you need it! And a car! SUCK. I hope it gets transcribed quickly!

  6. Thanks Erin- will let you know if I need that guest bedroom of yours ;) Verdict pending...

  7. My advice would be to head back to Houston ASAP, because jumping through hoops there is MUCH easier (and faster) than what the French have in mind. We all have French paperwork/visa horror stories - consider it a rite of passage of moving to France and Goodluck! =)

  8. I hope it works out sweetie ( and I am sure it well either way). IF you have to come to Houston, I will meet you at the airport and we'll stay in a fancy hotel. Keep me posted! Love you! XOXO, Mom
    P.S. I am sure KT would be happy to go in person to Spain with you this weekend to serve as your personal translator :)

  9. When Jérôme and I were married (in France) we tried to change my student visa to a spouse visa and because my 6 months of "vie commune" was the same day that my student visa expired they told me that not only did I need to go back to the US and apply for a spouse visa but J did too! Luckily we made the best of it and took the time to visit friends and family but still! What would I have done if we didn't have the money to fly home? Also, be prepared to go to the préfecture several times a year! You will not be eligible for the 10 year card for a while so until then it's yearly renewals! Gotta love France :)

    Love your blog by the way....forget how I found it but anyhow I am actually living in Big D with my Frenchie and working at NM! We actually met in France and I brought him to the US 2 years ago!

  10. Emily- that is crazy! I lived/ worked in Dallas AT Neiman Marcus and just moved over here last August. We basically just switched lives :) Are you working Downtown at the corporate office? I was in Marketing- I bet I know some people you work with!

    1. I am in the buying office downtown and love it! Hope you are enjoying France...J and I miss it dearly! All of my inlaws live in Paris so we do try to go back 1-2 times a year. We'd love to move back eventually!

  11. Abby not to be a total downer and ruin a fun trip to Spain, but I'm with chickster, you should go back to Houston if you can and take care of it there. It will be so much easier than trying to do it in France and no one in Houston is going to treat you like a criminal.
    I really hope this all works out for you. My fingers are crossed and I'm sending you all the good luck vibes I have xoxo



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